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Fri, 4 December 2020

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No10 confirms race commission will also examine why working-class white boys are behind in school

No10 confirms race commission will also examine why working-class white boys are behind in school

The PM's new race review will look into white boys are failing at school (PA)

3 min read

Number 10 has confirmed Boris Johnson’s new commission on racial disparities will look at “wider inequalities” such as why working-class white boys are behind others in school.

It comes after the review was branded a "back of a fag packet" plan designed to "assuage the Black Lives Matter protest” by Labour.

Confirming work to establish the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has already begun, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said a report and recommendations are expected by the end of the year.

He confirmed its membership is yet to be announced, but it will “examine continuing racial and ethnic inequalities in Britain”, reporting into Mr Johnson with the support of the existing Race Disparity Unit.

“The aim of the commission is to set out a new policy agenda for change, balancing the needs of individuals, communities and society, maximising opportunities and ensuring fairness for all,” he said.

The spokesman added: "It will look at wider inequalities including issues facing working-class white boys in schools, for example.

“You know the Prime Minister's commitment to the levelling up agenda, that is about ensuring that everybody has the same opportunities in life regardless of their background and where they were born.”

Downing Street also hit back at Labour’s claims the Government was ignoring the recommendations made by previous inquiries looking at racism.

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said there have been several reviews into racism in the UK in recent years, including one former PM David Cameron commissioned him to write, saying the announcement of yet another is about not taking action.

He told the BBC of Mr Johnson: "If he was serious, why are there no details about how it will be staffed, its remit, its terms of reference, its timetable? That's the question.

"It's because this was written on the back of a fag packet yesterday to assuage the Black Lives Matter protest. 

“Get on with the action, legislate, move - you're in Government, do something."

His view was echoed by David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who said there had already been "countless reports" on the issues surrounding racial inequality and called for "urgent action".

But the PM’s spokesman said in response: “The Ministry of Justice recently published an update on the Lammy review which set out a comprehensive programme of work to address inequalities which were identified in the criminal justice system. 

"It includes supporting those from under-represented groups to become judges. We have introduced a deferred prosecution pilot called Chance to Change. 

“That is now up and running, with the intention of addressing racial inequalities that stem from a lack of trust in the justice system among ethnic minority defendants. 

“We are bringing together and publishing more data than ever before on race. And last year Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service met its target of recruiting 14% BAME prison staff."

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